September 28, 2017
By Julia Goodman
An intellectual property litigator who spent more than 20 years at Blakely Sokoloff Taylor & Zafman LLP and once won a medical company more than $7 million in a trademark infringement suit has joined Buchalter PC’s Los Angeles office.
Willmore F. Holbrow III joined Buchalter on Sept. 12 from Blakely Sokoloff, where his work included arguing before the Ninth Circuit and Federal Circuit and representing clients including Toshiba and a clothing maker who sued Victoria’s Secret. Holbrow joins Buchalter as chairman of its intellectual property litigation group.
“One of the reasons I decided to move was that I was looking for a firm with a bigger platform,” Holbrow told Law360 on Wednesday. “The timing just worked out.”
Holbrow had worked at Blakely Sokoloff since 1997, where his cases included winning a $7.2 million judgment for medical company Electronic Waveform Lab Inc. in 2005. After a California federal jury found that Electronic Waveform’s former distributor had infringed its trademark on an electronic muscle stimulator, a judge later awarded $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees.
In 2013, Holbrow helped Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. win a determination that claims of a wireless computing patent asserted against it were invalid. Toshiba settled the remainder of the case in 2014. Holbrow also represents Spirit Clothing Co., including in a now-settled 2014 case in which it sued Victoria’s Secret for allegedly infringing the design of a long-sleeve jersey.
In addition, Holbrow has argued cases before the Ninth Circuit and Federal Circuit. In one case, he represented medical technology company Pacsgear Inc. in a suit in which rival DatCard Systems Inc. accused it of infringing medical imaging patents. Holbrow argued the case before the Federal Circuit, which affirmed several rulings in Pacsgear’s favor in 2014.
In 1999, Holbrow argued a case before the Ninth Circuit in which his client, the publisher of a Filipino-American community newspaper, was accused of infringing the phrase “Filipino Yellow Pages.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed the newspaper’s win at the district court, which had held that the newspaper did not infringe the term because it was generic.
“That was a great result, and it turns out to be an often cited Ninth Circuit opinion on determining genericness,” Holbrow said. “There hadn’t been a lot of case law on that type of issue and the judges wrote a very well thought out, lengthy opinion.”
Before joining Blakely Sokoloff, Holbrow served in the U.S. Air Force from 1990 to 1997, where he was a trial attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1994 to 1997.
Holbrow earned his law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1993. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1990.